Is being a stay at home mom a job?

Angel - posted on 11/10/2010 ( 98 moms have responded )

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I would like to first say that this is not about SAHM vs WM and if this topic already exsists then I apoligize, I didn't see one.

I want to know if there is anyone else out there that thinks being a SAHM is a job. I am tired of my father and his wife(and sometimes my boyfriend) telling me that being a SAHM is not a job. I have been told that I am just lazy and want my boyfriend to do all the working and paying of the bills.

If you take your child to daycare, why is it that the people taking care of your child are considered to have a job but if you take care of your own child it is not a job? Does anyone think that it is easy to be a stay at home mom? Am I taking the easy way out by not returning to work?

A penny for your thoughts.

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~♥Little Miss - posted on 11/11/2010

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I HATE THAT! Tell your boyfriend to take his week of vacation...and you know what you do? Be out of the house for 8-12 hours a day and THEN see what he says...as for everyone else...tell them to F*^K OFF!

Tara - posted on 11/10/2010

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My job description:



Full time position available immediately, must be able to work 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days a year.

Duties: You will be required to perform the following roles when required:

seamstress, chef, maid, nurse, teacher, gym instructor, booboo specialist, laundress, gardener, artist, counsellor, friend, caring parent and loving spouse.

Skills needed:

Must be able to multi task all the time

Must be able to work under unappealing conditions including but not limited to: diarrhea on your new coach, snotty children, puke in the middle of the night, on your side of the bed, dirty dishes that seem to appear overnight, laundry piles that threaten a coup on the house itself and other unknowns.

Pay:

The rate of pay is wonderful. You will receive little in the way of remuneration for approximately 20-30 years until you have grandchildren. Until then you will survive on sloppy kisses, tight hugs and the smell of a freshly washed baby.

Vacation/time off: This is called sleep.

Sick time: No. Not unless you are admitted to the hospital.

Training and human resource support: call your mom/sister/best friend when you need to ask a question/cry/vent or have adult conversation other than that, find a mantra such as "one day I'll pee with the door closed... one day I'll pee with the door closed"



Angel, I think you're doing exactly what you should be doing.

Raising our children is the most important job we'll ever do. It sucks that too many people just don't take it seriously.

Jessica - posted on 11/10/2010

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"If you take your child to daycare, why is it that the people taking care of your child are considered to have a job but if you take care of your own child it is not a job?"

That's a very good way to put it! I am a SAHM and of course its a job- a pretty tough one to be honest. Its hard being in charge of essentially all the housework and trying to be a good mom on top of it. There's always something that doesn't get done. I sometimes feel guilty because I don't have career goals or aspirations, right now. But the truth is, at 25 the only thing I'm sure about is that I want to be a mom! Sure, I could stress myself out trying out different jobs, struggling with daycare and never getting to see my son. But what would be the point, when I don't even know what I want to do as a career. After I have this baby, at some point, I intend to pick up a part time job to help with extra income so we can save up money. But I'm going to find something with minimal hours that are on evenings/weekends so my husband can watch them, because to me its still more important to be home with my kids.

Stifler's - posted on 11/12/2010

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It should be respected and taken seriously but some people take it too far with the holier than thou because I stay home business. And it annoys me, especially on the stay at home mums community. Working mothers are making sacrifices too like not spending as much time with the kids as they'd like and they act like EVERYONE SHOULD STAY HOME... IT'S A MORE IMPORTANT JOB THAN MAKING MONEY. Some people just can't afford it and would rather not sacrifice financial freedom/eating just to stay home. It doesn't make them less of a mother or staying at home a more important "job".

[deleted account]

@Carol - But it's not just the pay, its the leave, tea/lunch breaks, professional development, the fact that you can resign or be made redundant LOL.

And I guess what I'm balking at is the idea that we have to justify how we spend our days by labeling it a job. Being a stay at home parent should be given more value in society and within families. I'm lucky my husband and family are supportive, I feel valued and I don't feel the need to say "Oh this is my job". And like I said before, I think some SAHM take on too much thinking it's part of their 'job'.

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Stifler's - posted on 11/12/2010

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I don't think Damo has natural desire to do housework he just knows I won't let him sit on his arse while I do everything. He also doesn't get that our son won't think he cares if he doesn't do the little stuff like feeding him and changing him for bed not just playing. He still does it all though, coz I say so.

[deleted account]

I'm happily married to a working man who actually likes ironing....yes and hoovering =] I couldn't be with someone who expected me to do everything because I'm a stay at home mum!

Bonnie - posted on 11/12/2010

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When we are sick we still have to take care of the house and the kids as if we were never sick!

[deleted account]

You and me both Loureen. I couldn't be with someone who didn't contribute around the house, and willingly. And I especially think its sad when fathers don't do anything to take care of THEIR children. Don't they realise that care activities are also bonding activities? My husband gets our daughter up every morning and gives her breakfast. It's their special time in the morning before he leaves for work. He loves it and so does my daughter (and so do I coz I'm still in bed LOL). I think it's a real shame that some people consider that work.

Amy - posted on 11/12/2010

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I just got done arguing with my husband about this. With my son I was a WM. I was Active duty military and worked my butt off during the day. Once I got out of the military and got my first civi job, I was working at the same pace just a crappier shift. I had my daughter in Dec and quit my job to be a SAHM, and you know what, being a WM (to me) was way easier that being a SAHM. I have so much more to do now that I am home all the time, and if I don't get all of the household chores done by the time the hubs gets home from work, I feel like a failure. It's been almost a yr and I'm still not adjusted...lol

[deleted account]

I once asked my doctor for a sick certificate. he said "Sure - what are you going to do with it?"

Charlie - posted on 11/12/2010

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SICK LEAVE < HAHAHAHA .

Isnt it madatory to GET sick , a few bouts of gastro , pink eye , what about cold or better yet a flu OH JOY !

Anika i totally agree , i actually would not stand for a man who had no natural desire to help at home .

[deleted account]

Well, it's certainly not recreation! No pay, terrible hours, ghastly working conditions, no sick leave, and no union!!

Angel - posted on 11/12/2010

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@ Emma- Umm...I don't think anyone said that or implied that.

@ Anika- Your last paragraph makes a great point!

[deleted account]

@Dana - I did say in my first post that it was all semantics....mostly. And yes, staying at home should be acknowledged as WORK and be respected. I can agree on that.

@Angel - I don't think something has to be considered a job for someone else to give appreciation for it...if that makes sense LOL.

I just think looking after your child is BIGGER than a job. No where did I say an actual job (IMO) is harder work than being a SAHM.

Also, I don't think because you stay home that you should have to do all of the housework or children stuff. Your partners should do stuff too (unless they work really long hours and/or have a physically demanding job). My husband does his hobbie for his job. He loves it and sits on his arse all day long. Why should he then come home and sit on the couch whilst I cook and clean and look after our daughter? Um, no.

[deleted account]

WOW! I missed A LOT! While I agree with what Carol is saying, I do understand your point, Anika. I just think it's semantics. We're all acknowledging that being a SAHM should be respected and taken seriously, right? Can we all agree on that?

Angel - posted on 11/12/2010

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Well damn!!! I keep wanting to jump in here but Carol and Loureen keep taking the words out of my mouth!!!! lol

Seriously though, I think you ladies are right on the money. In the US I don't think it is common practice to have nannies or housekeepers unless you are in a higher paid bracket. In most homes where both parents leave their houses to work, both share in doing the chores. I doubt or more like I don't know any SAHMs whose spouse shares the chores and if your spouse does share the chores then I am jealous :(



How about another question, if being a SAHM is just life then how come not every mom stays home?



I would like to add that while I find it very challenging to be a SAHM, I also find it to be the best thing I have ever done in my life and I wouldn't give it back for anything. I would; however, like some appreciation for what I do. At the end of the day when I put my son to sleep and clean the house of his mess for the ump-teenth time, I go in his room and watch him sleep, I forget about all the difficultness of being a SAHM(untill he wakes up and the day starts over! lol).

Tah - posted on 11/12/2010

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so..if your not a sahm..you haven't been called?...and if not, what haven't you been called to. Staying home, or motherhood?...just a couple questions...

[deleted account]

@Carol - I've just reread everything I've posted and I can't see where I've 'degraded the reality'. Please expand...

And after re-reading all my posts I'd like to clarify that I don't think that working at a daycare is harder than being a SAHM. I think its completely different and can't really be compared - at least in the New Zealand sense. My examples were more why I think working at a daycare is a job and being a SAHM is not, IMO.

Charlie - posted on 11/11/2010

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while i think being a SAHM isnt easy i do think its a luxury that many cannot afford and although i dont think its easy ( i actually think 30 kids a day , 5 days a week is easier for me ) i enjoy it without a doubt.

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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I don't think that's very common here. I know heaps of women who work and none have a cleaner or gardener or whatever and they just do their housework themselves plus pick up the kids from daycare and cook dinner and their husbands work 12 hour shifts + 2 hours each way to work or work away. IMO that would be way harder than just staying home like I do.

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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Many women here employ housekeepers for those tasks. Growing up, I was one of the few kids with a SAHM. Many of my friends had full-time nannies who did the child-rearing along with all the household cleaning and the cooking. I'd say that half the moms I know now who work get some help at least with the housework, such as a once a week maid service or use drop-off laundromats, etc. Some utilize prepared food delivery services.

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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But whether you stay home or work outside the home and the kids go to daycare the washing and dishes and cooking still has to be done.

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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I agree with that Loureen. I think that's why it can be called a job. Many people love their jobs and would choose to do them over anything else. I personally don't see calling it a job as a cry for sympathy or a justification at all.

Anika, I can't help but feel like you are somehow exhorting the activity but degrading the realities. We should be so grateful to be mothers to our children that we should not consider any of the related tasks to be a chore?

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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Mine just never questions me being a stay at home mum. He's like I work and you stay home with the kids, it's equal. He never said I had to stay home or go to work it was my choice.

Charlie - posted on 11/11/2010

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LOL see i agree with him however i think a job can be a calling too , are your heads spinning yet LOL

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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I discussed this with my husband, to see what he thought. He said pretty much exactly what you are saying in your last post Loureen. He was thinking that calling it a job kind of lowers it to the level of something less important than it really is. I can sort of see his point. He thinks that it might be better to refer to it as a "calling" sort of like religious clergy. You can't quit on your kids and you can't quit on god? I don't know. That's just what I got from asking him. As you can tell, I am also lucky enough to be with a man who has great respect for the importance of the domestic sphere. But then, he'd love it if he could be a stay-at-home dad. And when my parent's were in Scotland for 2 months, and I still had to work, he used his vacation time and took care of our daughter. So he's actually had the experience.

Charlie - posted on 11/11/2010

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I agree its more than a job but you cannot get a person to understand that if they cannot even fathom that being a SAHM is at the VERY least a job ( in the sense that you are working )

[deleted account]

@Loureen - But that's the thing, being a SAHM is so much more than a job. And its sad that people only think going outside of the house for a job is work. And I don't think labeling it a job is going to help those people's situations.

Charlie - posted on 11/11/2010

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I guess its just that saying its not a job implies to some that being a SAHM requires no work .

I don't think anyone should have to justify how they spend their days but the fact is for some they are not appreaciated , the work they do equals nothing and its a shame for those women because they cannot fully enjoy being a SAHM when they are continuously made to feel inadequate , i am lucky to have a fully supportive and appreaciative partner and family but i do sympathise with those who dont .f

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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i agree there should be more respect and less questioning of "what do you do all day". being a stay at home mum is nothing new, women have always done it i don't know why we have to defend ourselves now.

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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Would consider it a job if you were being paid to do it? Here, we have a year of parental paid leave.

@ Emma, I don't think anyone here is suggesting that they have it particularly tough being a SAHM or that it's a terrible gig. I know that I definitely would prefer it to going to my paying job.

Perhaps defining it as a "job" may give it more value in our society, where sadly, child-rearing gets a great deal of lip service, but little real respect.

[deleted account]

@Jenn - I don't know. What are you trying to justify? If people's SO's think that looking after a child is easy, then they're stupid. I just don't think calling it a job is correct or helping their situation.

@Carol - I never said that being a SAHM was not important or worthwhile. I think the very opposite actually. I just don't think you can call it a job. Like Emma said, its just life.

Lets make it clear ladies, just because I don't think being a SAHM is a job doesn't mean I think all SAHM are 'lazy bitches'. Hell, I am a SAHM mostly. I'm always with my daughter, even when we're at my job she's with me and I'm her primary caregiver. So don't get me wrong. Being at home with your kids is important, worthwhile, hard work (sometimes) and rewarding, I just don't think it's a job. Otherwise I'd be putting in for some annual leave :)

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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Child rearing has traditionally been women's work and thus was less valued than men's work, as most of our society's are patriarchal. If in those patriarchal societies, men cared for children, you know it would be called work, and a hard job at that (not to mention that there would probably be way less kids, lol).

Just because someone consider it a job does not mean that they do not enjoy it or consider it a privilege. Many SAHM's I know consider themselves fortunate to be able to choose to stay home, but that does not mean that they are not still working. I find this kind of devaluing of the domestic sphere quite concerning and sort of anti-woman.

One thing that a job does, is contribute to our society. And child-rearing is definitely contributing to society. I tend to value the work I do as a mother at a greater level than the work I do in my job. In my job, I am helping to build things, as a mom, I'm helping to raise a person.

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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My SO gets to sit in a dozer all day listening to a 2 way and comes home and his son's grumpy and ready for bed. I don't envy him, just his pay cheque. I have it way easier than him.

Jenn - posted on 11/11/2010

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What are we trying to justify? I think some people just want others and possibly especially their SO who thinks it's oh so easy to sit around all day and eat bon bons, because that's what we do all day - oh and watch soaps - don't forget the soaps! LOL!!

[deleted account]

@Jenn Yes, that would be a job. Here we don't call those people babysitters, we call them 'In home carers'. And most of those are through agencies that monitor, regulate and provide training/support. Here a babysitter is just someone who informally looks after a child, like a teenager or a family member.
Early childhood education and care is obviously monitored and regulated more here in New Zealand than in other places.


Why must being a SAHM be related to some kind of employment? Sounds to me like some people are trying to justify what they do all day.

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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For me it's not a job it's just life. I have a kid I get to sleep in and not go to work and do housework at my own pace no deadlines and just feed the baby when he's hungry and play it's quite lovely and non job like. It gets on my nerves some days but I can't quit so it isn't a job to me.

[deleted account]

I still disagree Angel, but if you think caring for your child is a task, well....

I think the fact that some of you consider it a job and a hard one at that is because of your own definition. If you're saying "My job is being a SAHM and my partners job is (whatever he/she does)." well then no wonder you're left doing everything and not coping.

I don't consider staying at home with my daughter my job or even work. It can be work on occasion (if she's sick, for example), but on the whole I consider it a privilege and I enjoy every minute of it. Taking care of the house and most of raising our daughter is a shared responsibility between my husband and I.

Staying at home with your kids in not a job. Its more than a job.

Jenn - posted on 11/11/2010

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@Anika - I used to babysit 3 kids in my home and I claimed it on my taxes and provided her with receipts. When I worked at my old job when my son was 1, he went to a babysitter - not a day care and not licensed - and she gave me receipts and claimed the income. So would that be a job?

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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Perhaps we could call it a volunteer job? Or an unpaid internship? If everyone wants to get so technical.

As for Tah's point, looking after kids occasionally for free is not a job. But being a stay-at-home dad is just as much a job as being a stay-at-home mom.

I suppose there are a few women who stay at home, plop the kids in front of the tv all day, hire a cleaning lady, eat bon bons and watch soaps. That kind of "SAHM" is not a job.

Angel - posted on 11/11/2010

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Since some people want to get all technical. I disagree with anyone that says it is not a job. Look up the definition! Don't just read the first line!



Here:



n.

1.A regular activity performed in exchange for payment, especially as one's trade, occupation, or profession.

2.A position in which one is employed.

3.

a.A task that must be done: Washing the windows is not my job.

b.A specified duty or responsibility. See synonyms at task.

4.

a.A specific piece of work to be done for a set fee: an expensive repair job.

b.The object to be worked on.

c.Something resulting from or produced by work.

5.Computer Science. A program application that may consist of several steps but is performed as a single logical unit.

6.Informal. A difficult or strenuous task: It was a real job to convince them to drop the charges.

7.Informal. A bad or unsatisfactory piece of work: The stylist did a real job on my hair.

8.Informal. A state of affairs: Their marriage was a bad job from the start. It's a good job that we left early to avoid the traffic.

9.Informal. A criminal act, especially a robbery: a bank job.

10.Informal. An example of a specified type, especially of something made or constructed. Often used in combination: a new building that is just another glass and steel job; a cowboy hat that is one of those ten-gallon jobs.



So in fact it is a job.

:)~

Tah - posted on 11/11/2010

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when men keep their children we don't call it babysitting, we call it being a dad, or keeping the kids, so should we call a mother being a mother a job?..just a question...

Stifler's - posted on 11/11/2010

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Ì don't get paid. It's our money but I'm not being paid by the hour or any of that so it's more like slave labour.

[deleted account]

@Angel - Firstly sorry for the Angela bit. I get called Anita sometimes so I totally understand! LOL

And secondly, I'm not saying that working in a daycare is more work than being a SAHM. I'm just saying that my reasons are why I consider it a job and why I consider it a job and being a SAHM is not a job, in the technical sense of the word. Being a SAHM is work. Hard work sometimes. But I just don't think its a job. You don't get paid. You don't get taxed. You don't get breaks. You don't need training. You're not regulated/audited/evaluated. It's not a job, but it is work.

@Jenn - I wouldn't consider babysitting a job, well, not for an adult anyway because babysitters don't generally pay taxes. But I guess it depends on your definition of babysit. In New Zealand we have rules about who look after children and how many they look after and where.

Melissa - posted on 11/11/2010

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Right now its not that hard but I do WAY more work being a SAHM than I do at my other job and way more work than my husband does at his job...its just never ending ...you should leave you LO with them for an entire day and see what they think then!

Johnny - posted on 11/11/2010

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Being a SAHM is definitely a job! Like others have said, if we have to pay others to do the same work, then clearly, it's a job!

I work part-time and my dad looks after my daughter. He closed his consulting firm (which he started after retiring from his job) to look after her. After working for 35 years as an air traffic controller and 6 years running his own business, he says that he finds looking after her, and occasionally also the neighbor's grand-daughter, way more challenging. And way more enjoyable. He's already made it clear that he's more than happy to do it again if we choose to have another.

I'm not sure I agree with him, my job is more challenging than the days that I'm home. But it is possible that is because I absolutely love doing the mommy/homemaker job and don't so much love my professional job. If we could afford it, I'd definitely choose SAHM. I find it infinitely rewarding. Being a teacher, carer, nurturer, nurse, chef, cleaning lady (not so much, lol), and laundry girl, making it all work together. It's a great gig.

And it's not for everyone. I have a couple friends who admit that they just can't manage it. For them, going back to work, and getting childcare and housekeeper help is a better choice. But again, you've got to PAY people to do that work. Clearly, it's a job. Our pay should come as love and appreciation, rather than monetary. Although I did like getting paid for staying home during mat leave. No complaints there.

Jenn - posted on 11/11/2010

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Anika - if you want to get all technical and shit, then if you are a babysitter and not a daycare worker, no governmental agency is regulating your business, but it is still a job that you get paid for. Same shit different pile.

Jenn - posted on 11/11/2010

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It's definitely a job! Luckily Brian knows how hard it is and does not EVER complain about the house being messy or food not on the table at a certain time or anything. Mind you I do keep the house pretty neat and tidy and supper is always ready by 6 at the latest - but still - he knows how hard it is just from the times I leave him with all 3 for short periods of time like while I go grocery shopping on a Saturday sometimes.

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